Mike Kessler, the Elk Mound boys basketball coach, knows that no lead is ever safe.
The Mounders (1-3, 0-1) allowed two halftime leads to slip away from them as they dropped 53-50 on Monday against Regis (2-1) at home before traveling to a four-point 61-57 defeat against Durand (3-1, 1-0) on Thursday.
After dominating the first few minutes of Monday’s matchup and holding two significant leads the majority of the game, the Mounders allowed the Ramblers to scamper away with the victory at Elk Mound High School.
The Mounders commanded the first three minutes of the game to jump out to a 9-0 lead. Regis finally got on the board with a 3-pointer at 15:50 on the clock. Elk Mound’s Marcus Kinblom and Ben Lambele went to the glass for the Mounder’s next six points to extend their advantage 15-8.
Elk Mound’s lead first began to be whittled away when they sent Regis to the free throw line four times for four points and a few feeble passes were intercepted by the Ramblers, which were brought back for points. Following the string of charity shots and turnovers, Regis canned a 3-pointer to catch up within one point, 20-21 with 6:07 remaining in the half.
Brett Lew then stepped up for the Mounders to sink a pair of baskets from the arc and one more from Blake Rosenthal set Elk Mound ahead 29-23 at halftime.
Elk Mound came back to the court in a similar fashion as they had started the game, commanding the board with a pair of 3-pointers from Dylan Curry and a field goal from Brady Redwine to bump up 37-26, their biggest lead of the game.
However, Regis went on a game-winning 19-point run, which knotted the score at 37-37 with 10:25 to go and used that momentum to ramp their lead up to 44-37.
Curry finally broke Elk Mound’s dry spell with a 3-pointer, cutting the Ramblers lead to five. And it was anyone’s game during the remaining four and a half minutes of regulation. The Mounders closed the gap to 51-47 with 20 seconds left. Regis then had a chance to pull away at the line, but luckily for the Mounders, missed both shots.
A 3-pointer from Dylan Black set the Mounders behind Regis 51-50 with a mere six seconds remaining. Now forced to foul to stop the clock, Regis went to the line where this time, both freebies connected. Now with just three seconds to work with, Elk Mound attempted one last play to knot the score, but were met with a determined Regis defense who denied them the opportunity.
Lambele led in scoring for the Mounders with 15 points, 13 of which were scored in the first half. He was held to just two free throws in the second half.
Curry landed all 12 of his points from the arc, including three in the second half. Rosenthal and Lew picked up six points apiece, while Redwine and Conner Mavis chipped in four points each.
Regis’ Carter Brown scored a game high 19 points while teammate Keelin Normal Klatt added 18 to secure the win for the Ramblers.
Regis outshot Elk Mound at the free throw line, sinking 11 of their 22 shots while Elk Mound went 6-for-10.
Durand on Thursday
Then on Thursday, the Mounders again ended up on the wrong end of the board, allowing Durand to escape with a narrow four-point victory.
Elk Mound held a strong 10 point lead at halftime, but Durand rallied to outscore the Mounders 38-24 for the win.
“I was happy with how the kids battled throughout the game,” Kessler said. “However, the game came down to which team could make the energy plays. Durand played with more energy than we did from start to finish, and that was the difference.”
Redwine shared the game high with Durand’s Kobe Humphrey at 14 points. Kinblom added 13 for the Mounders while Rosenthal, Ryan Mohr and Lew chipped in seven points apiece.
Elk Mound heads to UW-Stout to compete against Bloomer (1-0) in the Northwest Tipoff Classic Saturday and returns to conference play to host Boyceville (1-2, 0-1) Tuesday.